“Review: Dracula X,” by K. A. Laity

Jul 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

I was a little worried about seeing this as I had not see the first nine installments, but my video store rental clerk (last store in the entire region with actual videocassettes!) assured me that this one stands on its own merits. I didn’t check the box to see if this was a foreign film, albeit dubbed into English, but I suspect that might account for some of the oddities. The film starts in media res, with Dracula already attacking an unidentified woman—erm, well when I say “attacking” the vampire is not going for the traditional neck, but rather explicitly biting away in her nether regions instead. Well, she doesn’t seem to be feeling any pain. The lighting is particularly bad, perhaps because they seem to be in some kind of cave.  Obviously this is not going to be an entirely faithful adaptation. Perhaps it was meant to be a low budget approximation of the castle.

Next we see the vampire hunters arriving at Dr. Seward’s sanitarium. Finally, the plot may move forward!  Ah, but no—there seems to be no effort to connect the Renfield subplot to the overarching narrative. In fact the setting only seems to provide opportunities to “observe” the lunatics at play. I don’t want to suggest that the director/writer’s palette is limited, but the patients all seem to be suffering from bizarre kinds of sexual dysfunctions which resulted—predictably perhaps at this point—in the lunatics all having sexual relations with one another. An odd take on Seward’s methods, not really present in the book as I recall. The extraordinary Mina Harker was nowhere to be seen, unless the pale woman rogered by the bevy of interns in the operating theatre was meant to be her.

Many of the choices left us scratching our heads. Any interpretation of Dracula takes on the 100+ years of conversations with Stoker’s novel. Even the classic Universal film took great liberties with the source text. Yet many additions to the narrative appeared to be without rhyme or reason. A cowboy? Perhaps he was meant to represent the lone American, Quincy Morris, yet it seems as if he’s only included to make use of a saddle in one of the surprisingly explicit scenes. I must admit we didn’t really get far with this film as we completely lost the thread of the plot, such as it was. It was as if the director appropriated the Dracula legend only as an excuse for explicit sex. Afraid I can’t really recommend this one. We turned it off and found other things to occupy us.


K. A. Laity has a green hat, a penetrating gaze, a list of publications as long as an orangutan’s arm and consequently, the envy of her colleagues at her little college. Ocelots have been known to weep at her singing.

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